kisrael.com | archive | 2002 jul

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(7) the rain in maine falls mainly on the vain
2002.07.01
Man, it sucks when the week of July Fourth comes around with such an air of menace. We sure as hell don't want that kind of fireworks. Is there anything we can do to make the situation right? Or at least less dangerous for everyone involved?

Anyway, had a nice weekend in Ogunquit, Maine, for our anniversary:
Got caught in the rain on the first day:


Got chased by hoardes of hungry seagulls on a boat trip to a lighthouse:


And then from that evening, a picture of Mo on the shore.

It's funny how much better a photo looks when you say
'don't look at the camera'.

what is the sound of one lawsuit clapping?
2002.07.02
Wow...I came this close to totally forgetting to do an entry this morning. Weird. Maybe I'm getting too wrapped up in my programming project for the Atari 2600...I currently have a big square you can move on screen with the joystick. It's as much fun to play as it sounds...but I E-bayed up one of these cartridges that should let me load the programs I make into an actual Atari!

Link of the Moment
Making the rounds, John Cage's estate is going after people who are trying to muscle in on his silence.

Movie Quote of the Moment
"Ack Ack, let me tell you a little story. A story about a little fat kid who everybody made fun of, and nobody liked and he had a twin brother, and everybody said he never looked like his twin brother, but he wanted to..."
"Egg, where you that little boy?"
"No! No! But I used to beat the shit out him! 'Why are you so fat? Why are so ugly?' Aaagghh!"
"Great story, thanks."
--One Crazy Summer, early John Cusack, with some othe big names like Demi Moore and Bobcat Goldthwait.

goodness gracious great flies of fire
2002.07.03
Hey, there are some fireflies about! I thought we were too far north to see many here...maybe it's just being in an ever so slightly more suburban environment. (The movies I tried to take with my digital camera didn't come out so well, just a field of black with a nature-y soundtrack.)

There's something divine about fireflies.

Links of the Moment
Ranjit pointed out VillainSupply.com, the place for all your all your superweapon needs. A few days later, Bill the Splut pointed out that President Junior has his eyes on taking out that supervillain Saddam, his daddy's nemesis. Pretty convincing argument that there's going to be a war sometime in the next 18 months. Ugh! Now, I have to admit that I thought that the last few conflicts we've been involved with were going to turn out worse than they did. (Give or take a bombing of a wedding party or two.) But man, our good fortune (and I acknowledge that it's not just fortune, but the result of a lot of hard work by brave people and money invested) is not going to last forever. And it's weird, but right now I "economic impact" weighs so heavily on my mind. Which is kind of stupid and shallow, but my neuroses have to fixate somewhere I guess.

Quote of the Moment
"We don't understand life any better at forty than at twenty, but we know it and admit it."
--Jules Renard

(1) go fourth
2002.07.04
Go fourth and celebrate! Hope everyone has a happy and safe one...

Games of the Moment
Chronic Logic has two "real physics" games for download: "Triptych" (shown) is a variation on the Tetris-esque match the colors game, but with blocks that jiggle and rebound and have regular and rotational intertia. They also have "Pontifex", a difficult game where you try to build a bridge across various chasms, tough enough to survive 4 train crossings. I'm a pretty bad bridge maker, but it's pretty amusing watching those trains go in the drink. These games might require fairly high powered computers, I'm not sure.

Quote of the Moment
"If you ask me, this country could do with a little less motivation. The people who are causing all the trouble seem highly motivated to me. Serial killers, stock swindlers, drug dealers, Christian Republicans. I'm not sure that motivation is always a good thing. You show me a lazy prick lying in bed all day watching TV, and I'll show you a guy who's not causing any trouble."
--George Carlin

(3) be true to your teeth
2002.07.05
Argh, programming the Atari is tough, though some parts are getting easier...I didn't make as much progress as I had hoped for yesterday.

Quote of the Moment
"Cold are the hands of time that creep along relentlessly, destroying slowly but without pity that which yesterday was young. Alone our memories resist this disintegration and grow more lovely with the passing years. Heh! That's hard to say with false teeth!"
--Wienie King, The Palm Beach Story

Backlog of the Moment
I've had a link about an interview with Scot Adams (the guy who wrote old "text adventures", not the Dilbert guy) in my back log for a long time...the site it's from has a large collection of articles about IF, or "Interactive Fiction". For an interesting, if atypical, example of the form, see my loveblender review of "The Space Under the Window".

not-so-weak-end
2002.07.06
I've got a busy weekend ahead of me...gotta help Peterman move, plus there are over 700 Love Blender poems I have to read. And last night I decided JoustPong was far enough along to deserve its own webpage/weblog... hopefully that will help motivate me to keep at it.

Link of the Moment
Insightful Slate Joe Klein article on how the Europeans see us (and to a lesser extent, how we see them). Interesting excerpt: "The American identity can be summarized in a single polling question: We are the only country in the world where a majority has consistently believedówith the exception of a few years in the late 1970sóthat next year will be better." That's a pretty amazing sentiment to have maintained even through Vietnam and the Cold War. He also points out that we probably wouldn't be building quite the level of global resentment we are if Gore was in the whitehouse (frickin' electoral college...I remember some essay way back when saying "it was like the electoral college...it worked ok as long as you didn't think about it too much"-- how wrong that essay was!

Quote of the Moment
"By the time you know what to do, you're too old to do it."
--Baseball Great Ted Williams, who died yesterday. They had a touching moment of silence before the game. Not always the most fan-friendly guy, he was a hero on the field and off of it, giving up some of the most promising years of his baseball career to fight in WW2 and Korea. He set out to achieve greatness, and reached it. Another good quote: "If I was being paid thirty-thousand dollars a year, the very least I could do was hit .400."

(1) friends help friends move
2002.07.07
Oy, quick entry, gotta go help Peterman with moving his stuff...

Quote of the Moment
"Adults are just obsolete children, and to hell with them."
--Theodor Seuss Giesel (Dr. Seuss). Considering I'm programming a dang Atari, maybe I have a difference view of obsolescence than he does.

Link of the Moment
One of the entries in the 2002 5k web design contest (more on that once they release the results) it's Pixel Ninja... a bit reminscent of the old school game Bruce Lee on the Commodore 64.

(1) they call it mellow yellow
2002.07.08
Did anyone in the northeast notice how yellow the sunlight was yesterday? (And also this morning, but not quite as severely...look for areas of alternating light and shadow to see it well.) I think it must have been the wildfires in Quebec, which haven't gotten much attention here besides this.

Quote of the Moment
"That's one of the tragedies of this life - that the men who are most in need of a beating up are always enormous."
--John D. Hackensacker III, The Palm Beach Story

Link of the Moment
Perhaps this website has ESP! Be sure to read the "Explanation of ESP Results" which is feedback people have sent in...people are so gullible! Go try it, and if you can't figure it out, here are some hints (highlight the following text to read it):
Hint 1: does the trick work if you pick 2 cards?
And if you're still stumped...
Hint 2: perhaps all of the original cardset is gone...

(2) dispatch master transport
2002.07.09
Link of the 'Mo'ment
In honor of our one year anniversary, Mo and I finally got around to compiling all the mishaps and near disasters of our wedding, which is this month's Loveblender Feature. And that leads to the title for today's entry, it's...well, see, there's this roller coaster at Cedar Point in Ohio called "Disaster Transport", and they have this sign, see, pretending that it used to say "Dispatch Master Transport" but it looks like the first part of "Dis" of "Dispatch" and everything but the M of "Master" have fallen together, and that's the name of the coaster, get it? Oh, never mind.

Quote of the Moment
"Love is a feeling you feel when you're about to feel a feeling you never felt before."
--Flip Wilson

Politics of the Moment
CamWorld had two interesting articles yesterday...one was the National Post (of Canada) thinking that Dubya may be losing the benefit of the doubt. I think people will have to come to terms with the idea that ultimately, he is not a very good president, and having to lead through trying times is not a guarantee of greatness. There was also an Economist piece on a study by Arab cultures on why the Arab world is generally lagging.

I've been thinking that it's time to admit some cultures are broken, and this admission might permit some unpleasant things that we have to. The American culture is certainly broken, we're incredibly full of ourselves and want to dictate policy to the rest of the world. Arab culture is broken in many ways, including some that are dangerous to the rest of the world, and unfortunately I think that's going to justify some level of discrimination against members of it. If I had to guess I'd say the Europeans have it the least broken, but I'm not sure.

(1) diet: die with a t
2002.07.10
Quote of the Moment
"Moreover, and perhaps more importantly: I hate people on diets. They're insufferable, self-righteous and invariably cranky."
--Steven A. Shaw, in a Salon article on obesity. It's been in my backlog since just before September 11, I must've been dieting around then. Probably let myself go a wee bit over the holidays, more or less maintained since then, but now I'm on my way back down again.

Links of the Moment
Funny that on my guetbook there's a small dialog on the Atkins diet...there was a New York Times article on anti-Atkins-Diet, pro-low-fat bias in the scientific community, linked to from this Slashdot article. Someone followed up my post about how super low calorie diets like have been found to severely decrease the effect of aging in so many animals, up to and including monkeys with a link to a place full of humans who are trying the same thing. I wonder how low is low. Right now I've managed to be pretty happy with optional piece of fruit for breakfast, large salad with a bunch of grilled chicken on it for lunch, and then some kind of "boca" product (meatless italian sausage or burger) in the evening, and not much beyond that.

I've kind of told myself that right now I'm just dieting, and that I don't have to consider any lifestyle changes until I'm 30. And talked more with some doctor types.

Of course, this kind of thinking, along with things like cryogenics, (maybe even having kids!) is a really optimistic view of the future...sometime I feel that optimistic, sometimes not.

(1) dog gone
2002.07.11
My last dieting secret was water, lots of water. My new secret? Lots of water plus sugarless gum. My theory is the water keeps my stomach busy, the gum keeps my mouth interested. My favorite so far is Eclipse Spearmint though my doctor recommended Xylitol gum, which supposedly has some additional good-for-your-teeth qualities.

Political Quote of the Moment
"Bush was elected on a promise to end the contradiction between presidential rhetoric and presidential rationalization. So far, all he's done is change the subject from sex to money."
--William Saletan in this Slate article

Link of the Moment
For some reason out of nowhere I started thinking about Benji the dog...hadn't though of him for years, though I guess that's not surprising since I never saw a single movie. I was going to say something about how it's high time for a Benji revival...and sure enough, looks like a new movie is in the works. This Benji website can probably meet all your Benji-information-needs, and then some. (Heh, that site had a cover of Dynamite magazine with Benji on that cover...remember that magazine? I loved the special double issues that had a second video game based magazine on the other side.)

(1) adventures of our own
2002.07.12
Political Link of the Moment
Slate asks the musical question, "Who Wants This War? - And why don't we find out before we start one?"

I think our relatively "easy" military successes of the last decade may be leading people to forget how ugly this might be, on the warfront, on the economy, in terms of putting fuel on anti-US fire in general...

Game of the Moment
Adventure is one of the true giants of old video games, an attempt to make a graphical version of the old text game Colossal Cave Adventure. Along with being the forefather of Ultima, Final Fantasy, and all of those graphical RPGs, it contained the first videogame "Easter Egg", a hidden room with its creator Warren Robinett's name. Warren Robinett put together an interesting PowerPoint presentation (Google has the text version, but messed up) that talks about the history of the game and Atari programming in general. Plus, Scott Pehnke has made a passable but imperfect Flash Port of the game. (And of course you could try out "Indenture", an excellent replica-plus-expansion of the original game for MS-DOS by VGR.)

Quote of the Moment
"I'm gonna be free like a bird, and eat birdseed...or whatever, you'll see"
--Ol' Dirty Bastard on his incarceration and the "Free ODB" campaign.

from russia with love
2002.07.13
Man, who's not shellshocked with he recent stockmarket moves? Ugh.

Joke of the Moment
"Ivan, do you know Einstein is coming to Odessa."
"Who is he? Is he a famous pharmacist?"
"No, he is a famous physicist. He is the author of the 'Theory of the Relativity'."
"What's that?"
"Well, how can I explain this...? You see, you have two hairs on your head. Is that a lot or a little?"
"A little."
"And now let's imagine you found the same number of hairs in your soup... "
"Can it be true? He is coming to Odessa with this stupid joke?"
from a page of jokes from Russia. Some of them don't make the cultural divide too well, but this one was a (possibly accidental) funny take on some other "explaining relativity" setups I've heard.

Contest of the Moment
Ranjit's moonmilk site is having a haiku contest. Submit the best haiku (there are some strict number-of-characters restrictions as well) and moonmilk will sponser it being monogrammed on a brick at Garner State Park in Texas, heavily damaged by recent flooding.

girlyman
2002.07.14
Link of the Moment
Disturbing and thought provoking article "The Feminization of American Culture", discussing how new chemicals in the environment may be acting as "synthetic female hormone" and possibly be somewhat responsible for changes in developed countries like decreased sperm count for males, younger onset of puberty in females, and even a general shift in cultural attitudes.

One of the more intriguing (if not guaranteed to prove the central thesis) correlations:
Use no statistical tricks, no manipulation of the data--simply use best-fit trend lines, plotted on linear coordinates--and the two lines practically coincide. The graph of declining sperm density perfectly parallels the decline in male college graduation rates.
Funny of the Moment
I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream - and I hope you don't find this too crazy - is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, "Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!" That would be bad.
--Steve Martin in Roxanne

dada googoo
2002.07.15
Link of the Moment
Enigmatic Cartoons from Japan... dada-esque strangeness and wonder? Or just some really bad translations? Why not both?

They have a odd elegance and beauty.

Funny of the Moment
"My efforts to say nothing but positive things to my son have become desperate. 'You're the best, smartest, cutest, friendliest baby, you're...telekinetic. You move objects with thought and start fires with your brain.'"
--Andy Dick

(3) ring thing
2002.07.16
More guestbook talk... Bozo13, you can still be "shellshocked" by recent events even if you're not completely surprised by them. People thought there were some fundamental shifts in the business cycle with rise of the 'Net-- and there have been some important changes, just not as fundamental as some people had assumed.

Don't know what that "old chap" stuff is in the entry before that.

Links of the Moment
Picking up from yesterday's asian oddity theme...we had a friend read my mushy just-so story Yee and Lan at our wedding and we're slated to read it at our friends' ceremony. I was looking around on Google and found it posted 12 places, often unattributed, including a translation into Chinese! You can put the URL http://www.es123.com/sl1/sl01/47.htm into the translation form at babelfish (having it translate "Chinese to English") and see how Wang Shen Xuan did. It seems a pretty straight forward translation (at least as far as I can tell through al the babelfish engrish), though it specifies "Milky Way" when I wanted to imply it could be a more distant Galaxy...anyway, I like the retranslation of the final paragraph:
Why is this on our this star, when two people mutual love, they so intensely like loving opposite party, frequently can give the opposite party ring, this is for commemorate Yee and the Lan planet love.
Spam of the Moment
Got some SPAM from from "Online Psychic" with the subject "Your Questions..." With a header like that, I was kind of disappointed that it didn't take the next step and tell me what the questions actually were.

empire down
2002.07.17
Political Link of the Moment
Reasonably deep article The Eagle Has Crash Landed from Foreign Policy magazine about the decline of the United States, from Vietnam on. It takes some positions that make a lot of sense, others that I'm not sure I accept. (Like viewing both World Wars as a single general conflict for power between the United States and Germany.) I sense a certain agenda on behalf of the author, but besides the general point against the hawks who want us to "Attaq Iraq" (and I still can't get my head around the public indifference to this upcoming event) I'm not sure what it is. And you have to keep perspective, the loss of American power isn't the same as the nation in ruins, though our relations with the rest of the world can help determine if we go through something more like the Soviet Union or like the United Kingdom.

We are not a nation that is able to see humbleness as a virtue.

Quote of the Moment
"It's like Vegas. You're up, you're down, but in the end the house always wins. Doesn't mean you didn't have fun."
--The Devil, Deconstructing Harry. I think this might end up in Kirk's Big Fun Pages O' Inevitable Death.

(1) what's up dog
2002.07.18
Image of the Moment
Cubicle poodle. You can see the original version at stileproject.com (at twice the size) but it's a very porn-ad-ish site.

Funny of the Moment
We apologize for the Princess Diana Page One headline "Di Goes Sex Mad" that is still on the stands in some locations. This issue was locked up last week before her death and went on sale Friday, Aug. 29, 1997. It is currently being replaced as quickly as we are able with a special 72 page tribute issue: "A Farewell to the Princess We All Loved . . . Di -- Her Final Hours"
--from the National Enquirer website, via Zach Blocker.

i spy you spy we all spy for the fbi
2002.07.19
Ok, go read Brooke's latest journal entry (the July 18 2002 one if she's added a new one) and maybe even write her and tell her how good it is...after all, she wrote when she was reigning as special birthday princess, tiara and all.

Politics of the Moment
New, on BushTV: Who wants to be a government spy? He's looking for at least 1 in 24! The scary part (or one of the scary parts) is that I'm not convinced this is a terrible idea.

On the other hand, Blood for Oil doesn't seem so bright.

Links of the Moment
I don't know about you, but I just can't enough of Cranky Music Snobs! Seriously, this list of "One Hundred Albums You Should Remove from Your Collection Immediately" is infuriating in parts but a great read. It reminds me that I don't listen to albums nearly as much as I used to. (Update...this Brunching Shuttlecocks piece complements that article perfectly.)

Quote of the Moment
"The gods too are fond of a joke"
--Aristotle. At first I misread this as "the gods are too fond of a joke", which I think might be true too.

pornoh no
2002.07.20
Link of the Moment
Making the rounds, True Porn Clerk Stories [R-rated link], the journal of a "first-amendment feminist" stuck in a kind of bad job. A lot of well-thought-out insights into the people who rent and the videos they watch.

Quote of the Moment
"At last we understand. Everything they told us about communism was false. And everything they told us about capitalism was true."
--Current Russian Saying about the post-Soviet era, via this Salon review of K-19: The Windowmaker. The review makes the movie sound much better than the television ads do, I didn't realize it was set in 1961, told from an entirely Russian point of view, and based on a true story.

(2) hungry like the wolf
2002.07.21
Game of the Moment
One of the most amazing entries to the 5k Contest is Wolfenstein 5k, a very decent FPS (First Person Shooter) with a complete little 3D engine that fits on a 5k webpage. The trick it uses is quite ingenious, an old text-based graphics format that he can generate on the fly using javascript. (Its inspiration, Wolfenstein 3D, was a groundbreaking game for PCs in the early 90s.)

Link of the Moment
The Art of Computer Design is an interesting document by Chris Crawford, a game designer...I think it (or at least exerpts from it) were in Antic magazine, and Chapter 6 (about balancing one player games, and indirection in the tank game Battlezone) left a big impression on me, I've been paraphrasing from it ever since. Most of the game it refers to are pretty old, it would be interesting to see a supplement to this that had a view of modern games.

(2) i'll take kirk trivia for $400, alex
2002.07.22
I'm hacking together a "whitelist" system for my homebrew webmail, where e-mail with certain Subject and From lines (namely, ones corresponding to Subjects I've sent mail about and people I've sent mail to) get highlighted as being much less likely to be SPAM. So here are the top ten (well, eleven) Subject lines in mail I've sent over the past year and a half. (Except, of course, for the 5-6 months of data from the second half of last year that got wiped out when my webhost's server got hacked.)
subjectoccured
hey28
test21
[None]21
hey man19
tonight12
address12
whoops11
hiya10
HTML: wrapping tables?10
pix10
quotes10
Except for that "HTML:" one which was a specific technical conversation, all of them are general terms I tend to use when I'm not feeling very imaginative.

In terms of to whom I've sent mail, Mo tops the list at over 500, over 5 times the next runner up, my mom.

Link of the Moment
Dang, guess Google isn't as perfectly cool in every respect as everyone thought. Their lawyers sent a cease and desist note to this site, which had made a very Google-looking interface to Amazon, both as a bit of a gag and as a statement on web usability. (They still have a screenshot here.) I guess I can kind of see Google's point, it was similar to the point of possible confusion that it was really Google making the site, and the redone look and feel is still much cleaner than Amazon itself.

Quote of the Moment
Some people see things that are and ask, Why?
Some people dream of things that never were and ask, Why not?
Some people have to go to work and don't have time for all that shit.
--George Carlin

(2) only the usa could invent coca-cola, or want to
2002.07.23
Quote of the Moment
"Coca-Cola GmbH still functioning. Send auditors."
--Telegram to Coca-Cola HQ in Atlanta from German affiliate at the end of WW2, from a Slate piece about the history of Fanta. Jeez, Coke is robust. A line in a 1985 Bruce Sterling short story I read mentioned that for his future vision of a post-industrial Bernei "the Net is just a megaphone for Coca-Cola".

Link of the Moment
Wired article What Buddhists Know About Science. I've always been really impressed with the respect the Dali Lama gives to science, that if science proved reincarnation wrong, Buddhists would have to rethink their view...a far cry from the Christian Fundamentalist viewpoint about evolution! And it does make me wonder if Western science is to quick to reject what it doesn't have simple explanations for...the trouble is with subjective stuff like the brain, it's tough to make good statistical measures, or gather objective data at all.

And the idea that happiness is something that you work at...maybe I should go back and try to get through that "Art of Happiness" book.

business trip filler day 1
2002.07.24
I'm on a business trip today and tomorrow. It's a plane ride up to Maine, my first plane ride since WTC, and it occurs to me that the old gag "take this plane to Cuba!" (or its variants, like "take this bus...") might never be funny again. Not that it was any great shakes to begin with; in fact, I think by the time I learned it Cuba was no longer really the number one highjacking destination.

Oy, the good old days, when a highjacking just meant a small social disruption, with only a few people being killed at worst.

Death and her Substitute
At a junior college in South central Kansas there is an introductory course taught by Death. The course, Basics in Animal Husbandry, is transferable to most major Universities, except for a few small liberal arts colleges who are skeptical of Death's academic qualifications. At least once, but usually two or three times, during every semester, Death would be absent from class. In her place was always the same man, who simply announced himself as Death's Substitute. He spoke with a strong southern accent, was very overweight, and told stories about his wacky shopping mishaps at discount stores to highlight his lessons. The next day Death would be back in class, excusing her absence because of some cold or flu. Then the class would laugh, to which Death would respond with a slight smile, because we had all seen the mornings news about some plane crash or earthquake, and knew what she'd really been up to.
--R.C.G. on the Blender Board, 1998-10-11, though I'm not sure that it's original to that.

(1) business trip filler day 2
2002.07.25
Poem of the Moment
I cannot seperate her
from the beautiful body.
She has charm and a very
gay spirit; in every way
she's attractive. Intelligent
and she reads good books.
But it's the faultless body
that forces me to make a fool
of myself, pursuing a virtuous
girl I could never possess.
--James Laughlin

grumblesmurf
2002.07.26
Yeesh, for some reason I'm really cranky today.

Link of the Moment
Maybe it's all the travelling, not sleeping as well? Or maybe I'm jealous of these guys, who are trying to retrain their bodies so they just beed 6 halfhour naps a day. I do wish I could do something like that, gain all that extra time...

Quote of the Moment
He didn't have to worry about jagged bottle-necks after all, or the microbes which might have been in the cheeseburgers from the Burger Ranch, for that matter. One of life's great truths is this: when one is about to be struck by a speeding six-hundred-pound Coke machine, one need worry about nothing else.
--Stephen King, "he Tommyknockers", via Zach's Quote Page

(2) who's yo daddy
2002.07.27
Movie of the Moment
From the Brunching Shuttlecocks: Leia and Vader: The Untold Story. It's weird how evocative that fade cut can be, even with stupid little action figures (I had forgotten how muscle-y the new action figures are, they make my old ones look pretty skinny and anemic.) Made me go out and get that Alanis cd...I feel it's a little brave to admit liking Alanis, but she has some really interesting lyrics. Of course, if you think too much about the relationships between the characters portrayed in the video, it's pretty icky.

Quote of the Moment
"You know what my favorite TV show is? Xena, Warrior Princess. They should just call it the Patton Oswalt Masturbation Hour. Big moon-faced amazon with a stick, beating people up--what god did I please?"
--Patton Oswalt

(1) major miner news
2002.07.28
Wow, they got all nine miners out! I have to say I wasn't optimistic about it. The article mentions how last night around quarter past ten they lowered a phone to them...wish I could see a transcript of that call. Pretty sure it wasn't "Can you hear me now? ... Good." (Followup: I think the actual quote from the trapped minors was "There's nine men ready to get the hell out of here. We need some chew.")

Links of the Moment
The other day slashdot had an article about a man who built his kids a BattleMech Treehouse. There was also a less successful attempt to build a fullsize Millennium Falcon as well as an Ebay Auction for a Rebel Blockade Runner (the ship Princess Leia and the droids are on at the start of the original Star Wars movie.) The cool thing about that last construction is that it's "to scale" for the action figures...and it's huge, as you can see below. A reminder of how gigantic the Star Destroyer that engulfs it at the beginning of the first movie is meant to be. (I mentioned it a few months ago, but that Star Wars Databank is awfully cool, especially the "Expanded Universe" and "Behind the Scenes" sections.)

Quote of the Moment
"Dating is dumb. Basically you're making false judgements based on false exteriors. Oh, sure, my superficial self likes your superficial self, but the real me likes your roommate."
--Margaret Black

(4) grout to the masses
2002.07.29
Went to my Great Uncle Frank's 90th birthday celebration yesterday...saw the side of my family that I don't see enough of. Plus over the weekend I actually helped Mo with grouting in the bathroom shower. Actually, with the cleanup, getting rid of a great deal of excess grout on the tiles. And despite Mo's best attempts, I'm not learning to love it. (Hmm, the next to bits involve glue and dust...isn't that kind of what grout is?)

Link of the Moment
I saw this around a while back. Cool in a DIY-geek way, it's ThisToThat, chock full of advice on gluing things to...other things. Mostly focused on common household materials, such as paper, wood, metal, etc.

Quote of the Moment
Everyone must have two pockets, so that he can reach into the one or the other, according to his needs. In his right pocket are to be the words: "For my sake was the world created," and in his left: "I am dust and ashes."
--Hasidic Saying, via Zach

kneel before o'neill
2002.07.30
News of the Moment
U.S. Exploring Baghdad Strike as Iraq Option. For a second, it almost sounded like a good idea. And I have to admit, I've underestimated our military capabilities in the past...but still, attacking right on the most heavily defended parts of Iraq? And in the cities? I think our record has been more so-so when it comes to urban warfare. And it still begs the question, should we be doing this? Do we have the "right", and is it even in our best interests?

While I'm on the Bush griping...NPR had a brief commentary by Matt Miller on Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill (unfortunately I'm not sure if there's a link to just that segment alone.) It seems like O'Neill was an outstanding and upright CEO, especially compared to Bush and Chaney...he went to the struggling aluminum company Alcoa and increased its stock price 8 times over with a huge commitment to worker safety and enhancing real value, taking a below-median salary and stock, so his fate was tied to the company, and telling his finance officers that he need to be and to be seen as above-board all the way. Anyway, he had what sounds like a brilliant plan for corporate reform, establish a formal "scale of 1-to-5" ranking of accounting quality, and make any given company's rating well known...companies will be falling all over themselves to get the highest rating. But Bush et al. didn't like it. It seems to be that there's a parallel (or rather a contradiction) between his rejection of this idea and his support of increased testing in public schools... "is our children learning" indeed, but our companies may not be.

Link of the Moment
Dr. Fun is the oldest web-based cartoon...I remember seeing them thumbtacked to the walls of the computer labs in the mid-90s. Kind of a decendent of the Far Side, but with the occassional pop-geek-culture-twist. That page has a selection of fan favorites, (The "Here's one..." links) or if you're in a hurry, here's my favorite from that selection.

chicken pot pies
2002.07.31
On the guestbook, bozo wonders (regarding the Pennsylvania miners' rescue) how can humans be so noble and heroic at times yet spend most of their efforts trying to kill each other ? Err, well, to be fair most of us don't spend most of our efforts trying to kill each other. But, if anything, I find the fault being the way we group ourselves. It's way too easy for us to get into tribe-vs-tribe like situations, and lose a "global village" perspective. That's why I have very mixed feelings about ideas like "celebrate diversity". The closer we are to being a giant homogenous mass, the less prone to genocide we'll be. (Not that I'm advocating 1950s-style pressured-conformity either.)

Image of the Moment
The easiest way through the solar system, full size picture and more details from this cellar article.

Quote of the Moment
"I guess everyone has had that one breakup where you just want to sit in your house for six months, smoking cigarettes and eating chicken pot pies in your underwear."
--Jake Johannsen. BTW, Dylan really likes Chicken Pot Pies, especially from Friendly's. I don't know about him and the breakup bit, but I think they would get upset if you tried to go there in just your underwear.

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